Earlier this year, actor Dante Basco, best known for his role as Rufio in the 1991 film Hook, teamed up with writer and director Jonah Feingold to develop an ambitious short film exploring the life of Rufio, prior to the Mohawk and Neverland. The pair, along with a small team, created a Kickstarter campaign in order to bring their film to life. The Hook prequel received a massive response, earning nearly 1.5k backers and $68,790.
In anticipation for the short film release, Bloomeration has spoken to Jonah Feingold, who revealed an exclusive first photo for the short, some exciting details about Bangarang, and his ambitious hopes to build on the world of Neverland with a feature called Wendy starring Pitch Perfect actress Brittany Snow.
“The plan is to continue. Bangarang, in many ways, is a teaser for things to come. A set-up for a bigger world that explores the character of Rufio and of Neverland. I’d love to expand on the universe in general,” said Feingold. “I’ve had a project in development for a couple years called WENDY, it’s a romantic comedy about Wendy all grown up – it stars Brittany Snow, I’m hoping Bangarang will help make that film happen with Netflix. Dante will be in that as well! ”
Bangarang follows the story of 13-year-old Roofus who is destined for more. After his mother forced him into a foster home, he and his rag-tag group of best friends – a Jamaican boy named Julani and a bright-eyed latina force of nature named Ella – find a way for Roofus to escape his ill fate and fulfil his destiny. Bangarang is a coming of age film that has drawn inspiration from 80s greats, as well as some more modern works.
“First I watched Hook a bunch more times than I’ve already seen it (which is a lot) then went back and watched all the Amblin films I loved growing up – The Goonies, ET, Jurassic Park, etc,” said Feingold. “I watched a lot of old Disney films as well – from Pinocchio to Lion King, and then some more contemporary films like Moonlight. All of this swirled into my brain and resulted in the tone of the film.”
Bangarang aims to answer questions that the 90s film left open, how Rufio became the leader of the Lost Boys, where the word “bangarang” comes from, and how Rufio gets his trademark Mohawk. Feingold described bringing the beloved character to life as an experience that was surreal, scary, joyful and daunting.
“The thing that I like most about our film is that he isn’t really RUFIO yet…He’s Roofus. A kid. Just a kid. A good kid. He’s got a destiny but hasn’t realized it yet.”
While the plot of Bangarang has been kept under wraps, the short film will pay homage to Hook, whilst bringing a whole new life and story to the leader of the Lost Boys.
“I think it will surprise fans. It’s very grounded in reality, yet magical. It moves quick. We wanted to tell a lot of story but in a little amount of time. I hope the film invokes a sense of nostalgia in the same way Hook does.”
Bangarang is set to be released on Monday, June 26 on Youtube. Check out the short film’s cast in the video below: